BostonBruins.com - The stories behind jersey numbers vary from player to player.
Some land on numbers because of childhood idols, role models, family members - those whom they looked up to, and wanted to be like. Others simply are given their numbers, or choose based on those available.
New Bruins forward Jimmy Hayes will be wearing No. 11 as a Boston Bruin, and to him, it will represent much more than just a number.
The Dorchester, Mass. native, who was acquired by Boston on July 1 and signed a three-year contract with the team, has worn a few numbers in hockey thus far. He donned the “12” in high school and for the U.S. National Under-18 Team. At Boston College, a “10” graced the back of his jersey. He has worn 12, 17, 22 and 39 on the back of his sweaters in the AHL and NHL.
Now, back home in Boston, Hayes will wear 11.
“I chose No. 11 to honor a good friend of mine, Corey Griffin, who passed away last summer,” said Hayes. “He had been a huge part of my family and his family - we go back to youth hockey days.”
“And he was a huge ambassador of this community as well. He was very influential in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, honoring Pete Frates. So he’s just the type of kid that - you know, he would walk in with a smile on, brighten up everybody’s day.”
“Just to be able to wear No. 11, the number he wore in high school and throughout his hockey career, is an honor for me to wear this number.”
In April, the Boston Bruins Foundation and NHL Alumni hosted the Corey C. Griffin NHL Alumni Pro-Am, an annual charity hockey tournament renamed in honor of Griffin, raising more than $900,000 for Boston Children’s Hospital. That is just one event in his name. Much has been done in Griffin’s honor since his passing, around Boston and beyond.
With this personal gesture from Hayes, he will be able to honor his friend in the community where they grew up together.
“I’ve never worn 11 - so it’s a special number for me,” said Hayes. “Our other great friend, Brian Boyle, who plays down in Tampa, he [changed his number to] 11 - so, it’s just - Corey’s always with us.”
“I’ll be able to wear 11 every night, he’ll be with me every night, so it’s just a huge honor for me to be able to wear it.”